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Smoke comes out of my oven when I bake chicken breast fillets. As soon as I open the oven door I can see some smoke escaping, and 30 seconds later both fire alarms are going off. This has never happened when baking other foods (pies, cakes, etc..).

I've been trying to figure out what it is that's causing all the smoke. The ingredients are...

  • 1kg frozen chicken breast fillets
  • 4 teaspoons soy sauce
  • 8 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
  • granulated garlic
  • italian spice

I bake the chicken on two baking sheets lined with foil. I set the oven to 375 and let it bake for about 23 minutes. I don't bother letting the oven preheat.

Last week I came across some information that said extra virgin olive oil smokes at 375, so today I dropped the temperature down to 350 and tried to cook for a few minutes longer. The fire alarms still went off.

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Is this a gas or electric oven? My gas oven preheats with both elements, which can trigger burning if you stick in items before it finishes preheating. Remaining residue from previously cooked foods is the most common culprit in ovens setting off smoke alarms, in my experience; try cleaning the oven. –  JasonTrue Nov 1 '13 at 5:06
    
Clean your oven. –  Sean Hart Oct 2 at 19:41

3 Answers 3

up vote 3 down vote accepted

Just in case, is it just something that dripped into the oven? Unless you've baked something else since you started having problems with the chicken, just preheat it and see if there's any smoke. (Or inspect the bottom, but you might miss something.) If there's any smoke heating an empty oven, then you need to clean it.

Assuming that's not it, most likely it's still the olive oil. Depending on the oil, some of it will indeed smoke at 350F, and on top of that, it's possible that your oven is actually hotter than it thinks. Unless you've checked the temperature with a thermometer, it's quite possible the temperature is 25-50 degrees higher than it claims, especially if it's old. You could try lowering the temperature further.

But really, there's not really much point cooking this with extra virgin olive oil. It loses its flavor when you heat it to those temperatures, even if it doesn't smoke. You'd be better off just using a neutral oil (vegetable oil or whatever you prefer), and if you want olive oil flavor, add a bit after you're done baking. You probably don't actually need very much oil when baking, so you could reduce the oil there, and make up for it with olive oil at the end.

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It's probably the garlic.

We bake our chicken at 450F (so that the skin gets nice and crisp) over top of a bed of vegetables. We noticed consistently:

  • Without chicken shielding it, the juices from the chicken burn in the pan. And the vegetables.
  • Garlic, onions, and other aromatics burn. As in, they come out burned after an hour.

You have a lower heat and a shorter time, but it still may be garlic. You'll know -- if you chop up the garlic, it will look visibly blackened when burned.

You can also try putting foil on top of the chicken (especially if it's skinned).

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It's granulated garlic, garlic powder, not fresh garlic. It can burn, but the OP probably isn't using it in the large quantities it'd take to really smoke up an oven, and since it's probably mixed in with the oil, it won't burn easily at all at that temperature, especially not in 20-25 minutes at 350. –  Jefromi Nov 1 '13 at 4:51
    
Maybe. Granulated is what I use too (finely chopped, from a bottle) and it burns fast. Doesn't generate much smoke though. –  ashes999 Nov 1 '13 at 15:32
    
I still don't think we're talking about the same thing. When you say "chopped", it's a sign that you're not talking about granulated garlic, which is dry, with a texture in the direction of cornmeal (perhaps finer). In either case, I think we agree that even if it does burn, it doesn't make that much smoke, not the quantities that'd fill an oven and set off a smoke detector. –  Jefromi Nov 1 '13 at 15:39
    
Yep, agreed. Feel free to DV since my answer is pretty clearly wrong. –  ashes999 Nov 1 '13 at 15:55
    
Angling for the peer pressure badge, are we? In any case, I think it's a fair guess for the more general form of the question - aromatics definitely do burn - but in this specific instance, it's unlikely to be what's going on, so I think it's worth leaving around. –  Jefromi Nov 1 '13 at 17:30

Depending on the type of alarm you have, it may go off when steam is detected, as well as smoke.

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